DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and STEVEN LEE MYERS
New York Times
December 8, 2011
Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday accused Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of instigating protests over the results of Russia’s parliamentary elections by baselessly criticizing the vote as “dishonest and unfair” and he warned that Russia needed to protect against “interference” by foreign governments in its internal affairs.
“I looked at the first reaction of our U.S. partners,” Mr. Putin said in remarks to political allies. “The first thing that the secretary of state did was say that they were not honest and not fair, but she had not even yet received the material from the observers.”
“She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal,” Mr. Putin continued. “They heard the signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began active work.”
Mr. Putin’s remarks signaled a new worsening in relations with the United States, threatening the Obama administration’s efforts to “reset” the relationship with Russia. His critique was strikingly personal. By singling out Mrs. Clinton, rather than making a vague comment about the West, he effectively thrust the United States on the side of the protesters in the streets challenging the Kremlin’s authority, and not entirely without reason.